Originally written by Daniel Kurland for Screen Rant
Warning! Major spoilers for The Invisible Man below.
The Invisible Man has been a classic horror story for decades, but Leigh Whannell's new interpretation of the tale takes some very creative and exciting liberties with how invisibility works.
Every decade or so there’s a fresh interpretation of H.G. Wells’ chilling story. These projects usually amount to ways to show off the special effects of the time, but Leigh Whannell’s movie does more. Whannell comes from a long history of reputable horror films, but his recent directorial efforts speak much more to a passion toward contemplative body horror. Whannell’s previous film, Upgrade, is a different movie than The Invisible Man, but they share similar themes and look at the idea of the unholy bond between man and technology. Upgrade turned out to be the perfect training ground for Whannell, and it’s helped him elevate the standard Invisible Man narrative into something much more complex and important.
There's something inherently fascinating and terrifying about the idea of invisibility. There's freedom in the concept, but it also unlocks a certain level of vulnerability. As much as it can be an asset to hide, it can also be just as important to be seen. It's for these reasons that The Invisible Man has been adapted many times over. That being said, many of these versions hit similar bases, however, Leigh Whannell's is the first to truly get unique with the premise.
The Invisible Man's Suit Explained
Cecilia Kass (played by Elisabeth Moss) in The Invisible Man (2020)
Whannell's film achieves invisibility through a technologically advanced suit that can be taken on and off. Adrian is one of the world's most renowned geniuses in the field of optics, and he uses his expertise to construct a secret suit made up of hundreds of tiny cameras that work together to conceal visibility by projecting surrounding environments as a form of camouflage. It's a radical idea, and one that lends itself to a very creepy visual of the suit when it's not functioning, but tries to base itself in factual technology and science. The suit grounds itself in reality, leaving it far away from sci-fi heavy invisibility serums. Even the design of the suit is incredibly modern and reflective of current times, rather than the bandaged appearance of the original Universal character.
Why The Invisible Man Is Stronger Than Normal People
In addition to the tactical and camouflage advantages the invisibility suit provides, it also adds a natural defense quality. The film establishes that Adrian is a strong person to begin with (he’s able to easily punch through a car window), but the suit also provides a buffer similar to a Kevlar vest. Adrian's stabbed and assaulted multiple times in the suit, but this results in very little consequence. In fact, the apparent damage he takes doesn’t appear to slow him down in the least. Later on, Adrian’s invisibility suit takes nearly a full clip from Cecilia's gun when Tom is wearing the suit during his attack on James and Sydney. This advantage makes the film’s rendition of the Invisible Man even more intimidating since he gains a level of strength that could put him closer to the Wolfman or Frankenstein’s monster’s aggression; it’s not just a change of aesthetics.
How The Invisible Man 2020 Is Different To The Classic Version
Leigh Whannell's take on The Invisible Man takes a very different approach to its invisibility concept. Most adaptations treat invisibility as a curse or something thrust onto characters, forcing them to adapt, typically with disastrous consequences. Whannell's The Invisible Man doesn't just make invisibility a conscious choice, but something that can be turned on and off, rather than it being a permanent. The fact that there's a strength factor in addition to everything else is another way in which Whannell's movie changes and adds to the original source material.
The versatility of the suit in The Invisible Man also allows several characters in the film to possess these powers. Adrian, Tom, and Cecilia all wear the suit at various points, which provides a lot more potential. It also opens up sequel opportunities since invisibility can be easily weaponized instead of a burden. This science could even be replicated, with dozens of these invisibility suits built to equip an entire army without any of the experimental risks that previous Invisible Man films have entertained. If a sequel to The Invisible Man happens, that suit could get in the wrong hands and cause a lot of trouble.
The Invisible Man is now playing at Regal.